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Top 5 Lakefront Trail Danger Zones

By Kalyn Belsha in News on Aug 8, 2009 7:15PM

While the Chicago Park District doesn’t have a comprehensive system to track accidents that happen on the Lakefront Trail, an analysis by the Sun-Times shows incidents are most common than you’d think. Between 2002 and 2008 Park District employees recorded 126 “wipeouts,” which include collisions, swerving to miss other riders and hitting rough patches. Anecdotal evidence suggests this number is far lower than the actual number of incidents that occur.

Advocates say a better system to track incidents could make it easier to assess if slow zones, speed limits or more signs could make the trail safer. But police say making a list of responses to crashes is difficult to create.

Trail users and safety advocates say police or fire personnel should place a call to the Park District when they respond to a crash to help accumulate incident data.

According to the little incident data available and known patterns of congestion and traffic, the most dangerous part of the Lakefront Trail is the stretch from the Chicago River bridge to Ohio Street Beach. Plans are in the works to build a more than $40 million “flyover” ramp to improve this area, but this is contingent on as of yet unsecured federal funds and wouldn’t be built until 2011 at the earliest.

Already the Park District has made some improvements in this zone including moving concession stands further away from the trail, getting rid of pedestrian crossings and installing a new underpass at Solidarity Drive.

Google Map of five most dangerous parts of the trail courtesy Sun-Times.